Product development engineer
I joined Intel in March this year but still haven’t visited the campus in Leixlip yet because of COVID restrictions. I moved back to my parent’s home in Laois to save on rent and it’s been a really interesting experience, coming back to live here as an adult, ten years after leaving as a child going to college.
I’m able to see my parents as adult to adult and I think when this is all over, and I move out again, I’ll look back on this time with them as a gift. I can see that they have aged, and so I enjoy helping out by doing the shopping and gardening for them. I love to cook too and so it feels like a different phase of our relationship and it’s lovely. They’re even asking me for advice on what choices my little brother should make now he’s done his Leaving Cert.
I also get to see how hard my dad works, and have a real respect for his work ethic. Although I was born in England, I grew up in Ireland and because my dad is a doctor we’ve lived all over the country in Donegal, Kildare, Galway and Laois. My parents moved to the UK from Pakistan and I can only now really appreciate how hard that must have been. When they left, they had no easy way of speaking to family, and the culture shock must have been really tough. They were both doctors and even though I was really good at science, I knew I couldn’t be a doctor as I’d faint at the sight of blood. My dad is a surgeon and I can’t even look at notes and pictures he might leave in the house! Maths was my thing, inspired by a great teacher. Previously we’d just be told to the do the exercises with no explanation. But my next teacher changed everything because he also taught us the fundamentals. He brought his passion for maths into the classroom and didn’t just focus on the how, but on the why. He would constantly explain how maths works and fits into the world in everything from phones to landing planes safely. He taught everything from first principles and it really spoke to me, as that’s how my mind works. That why I love engineering because you have to figure out first principles and then why it needs to be applied to the how.
Now that I’m back in my family home, I often think about the fact I’m sitting at the same bedroom desk where I studied my leaving cert, now working for Intel. Growing up seeing the logo everywhere it was my dream to work here – in fact I applied out of college but didn’t get an interview. So when they reached out to me in December I was thrilled, because the company I was with hadn’t really adapted well to being able to train us at home during lock down, and I was frustrated as I want to keep learning. As soon as I arrived in Intel however, the training manager told me this could be a job for life and they’d look after me and keep training me which is what I want.
I’d love to be able to work overseas at some stage too. At Trinity I went on an internship with Huawei in Beijing which was an incredible experience as I loved being in a different culture. I’ve been inspired by some people here who have had the chance to travel and live overseas for a year or two with Intel, as I’ve always wanted to work in the US. I’ve seen my dad work hard to get to the top of his career, and I want that too. COVID has actually also given me the opportunity to save as I want to do an MBA at some stage. I’m really interested in the business side of engineering, and how decisions are made.
I feel I have a wonderfully hybrid culture. I’m Irish and consider Dublin my home, but melded with a wonderful Pakistani heritage. I spent a year living with my aunt in Pakistan when I was small while my mum studied and I got fluent in Urdu. In fact, during lockdown I started up Urdu lessons again as I was very rusty and it means I can take a trip with my parents back to Pakistan at some stage, and be able to get us around. I love Pakistani food too and can cook good spicy dishes as growing up I would watch my mum and learned from her. But Ireland is home. In fact my dream was to play field hockey for Ireland at one stage. I ended up playing for Ulster, but we then moved to Laois which is the one county which doesn’t have a team! Maybe I’ll join the Intel hockey team when things return to normal. It will be great to meet my team properly and get involved in life at the Intel campus, but until then I’ll appreciate this time at home spending time with my parents.